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Container port congestion worsening at start of 2022: Sea-Intel

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Container terminal congestion is getting worse as the industry moves into 2022 warn analysts Sea-Intelligence.

What were described as “seemingly interminable queues around the world” have taken out 11% of global containership capacity across 2021 while volumes grew at 7%. In normal times around 2% of containership capacity is tied up in waiting at ports.

Using data from South Korean line HMM a slight improvement could be seen between October and November last year. In November 2021 11.5% of container shipping capacity was caught up in delays, compared to 12.3% in October.

However, looking into figures for North America and Europe for December 2021 and the start of 2022 it sees no sign of improvement.

A terminal congestion index for North America showed hit a record high on 30 December, although improved slightly for 6 January driven by a better situation in Savannah and Charleston.

“For Europe, we see a situation that has been steadily getting worse since the start of October, with no signs of any improvement – or even levelling out,” said Alan Murphy, CEO of Sea-Intel.

“This also implies that we might well expect to see a continued upwards push on freight rates on this trade, as the congestion is likely to have a negative impact on reliability, and hence in turn on available capacity.”

Container line schedule reliability sat at between 34% and 40% last year according to the analyst.

Looking ahead Murphy warned: “All the available data shows that congestion and bottleneck problems are worsening getting into 2022, and there is no indication of improvements as of yet.”


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